Yo Man, time to chill out and get all peeeaced out!
Is this your impression of meditation and why you probably haven’t tried it?
When John, the founder of Seek A Therapy first meditated he did feel kinda strange. Sitting up right, being conscious, sitting with his back straight and eyes closed, concentrating on slowing his breathing . He felt a little bit like a hippy from the 1970s during the love revolution. But in truth, meditation has been around for a long long time before then and the benefits immense. Meditation has so many benefits to not only your mental health but it can affect all areas of your life!
In this article we will discuss just 10 of the many reasons why you should start meditating today.
1. Start meditating, decrease anxiety and gain clarity
When we suffer with anxiety we tend to think about events and things before they happen.
Over and over in their mind starting at a bad situation until it gradually builds into difficult feelings and perceptions. It is almost impossible to confront the thing they wanted to do. By meditating, it stops you thinking too much.
The act of closing your eyes, focusing your attention on your breathe and away from any thought you are juggling with in your mind. Once you have meditated for at least a minute, you are likely to find a stillness that was not there before.
You may begin thinking about the problem or thing you had anxiety over and thats ok. With regulated deep breathing you can gain control over your emotions and feelings again.
According to Huffington Post over 50% of the UK population alone have increasing levels of anxiety. Being surrounded by so many distractions and now more than ever your brain is in overdrive and work pressure is increasing the ability to know how to meditate will help in reducing anxiety and stress related illness.
After the mindfulness intervention, participants have greater activity in a brain network associated with processing information when they reflect on negative self-statements. In other words, they pay more attention to the negative statements than they did before the intervention. And yet, they also show decreased activation in the amygdala—a region associated with stress and anxiety. Most important, the participants suffered less. “They reported less anxiety and worrying,” Goldin says. “They put themselves down less, and their self-esteem improved.”
2. Improves happiness
Meditation can increase your levels of feel-good chemicals, like endorphins and serotonin. Studies also indicate it may increase your capacity for happiness and reduce your propensity towards negativity.
Meditating allows you to stop doing what you are thinking about regularly and detach from your emotions rather than being consumed by them and if you have been unfortunate enough to experience many difficulties with little respite it is likely those thoughts are of the negative variety. When you are depressed your brain lacks its feel-good chemicals. It could be said that it is difficult to feel good or positive about a lot of things. By meditating it is believed to naturally increases your level of feel good chemicals and helps in reducing the negative thoughts.
3. Improves your attention
Meditating allows you to focus and retain attention better. You begin to filter your mind out of all its thoughts, whether negative or positive. We use the metaphor of the computer. Imagine your mind as the PC. Meditating isa little bit like turning your computer off at the end of a working session. Closing all your files and reopening it with a new blank desktop for a new day. Meditating is a bit like pressing the restart button. It allows you to face life with less clutter in your mind you are able to focus more easily on the things you set your mind to.
In a study published in the journal NeuroImage in 2009, Luders and her colleagues compared the brains of 22 meditators and 22 age-matched non meditators and found that the meditators (who practiced a wide range of traditions and had between five and 46 years of meditation experience) had more gray matter in regions of the brain that are important for attention, emotion regulation, and mental flexibility.
4. Start meditating and reduce cravings for addictions
One study, for example, pitted mindfulness training against the American Lung Association’s freedom from smoking (FFS) program, and found that people who learned mindfulness were many times more likely to have quit smoking by the end of the training, and at 17 weeks follow-up, than those in the conventional treatment.
Another side effect of depression is gaining an addictive personality because you are lacking in the feel good chemicals. You can be addicted to many thing, food, smoking, exercise, drugs, alcohol, gaming, sex and more! Any addiction is unhealthy and can be detrimental for your sense of health and wellbeing.
Meditation on a regular basis releases the natural feel-good chemicals in your brain which means you are less likely to feel your need for your addiction as much as before.
5. Can calm you down whenever you feel overwhelmed emotionally
It cleanses and nourishes you from within and calms you, whenever you feel overwhelmed, unstable, or emotionally shut down.
It’s no mystery that when you suffer depression or anxiety your negative emotions become difficult to deal with. They can engulf you like a disease but when you meditate you stop your emotions over-riding your rational mind. When meditating calming happens probably due to the action of breathing slowly and regulating your brain waves. By correct breathing you find a sense of calm. Read this other article where we discussed the idea of how breathing correctly can influence your mental health.
6. Personal growth and awareness can improve
Taking time out for yourself where you don’t work, don’t watch television or distract yourself with another activity forces attention onto your thoughts. You will find you begin to contemplate the day just gone by or plans for the future. Spending time slowing down, allows you to reflect on past events gone by and how to improve in future.
When reflecting, it is so important to look at how far we have come not just how far we have yet got to go.
7. Start meditating and improve your creativity
As previously stated, our mind can become cluttered with many many thoughts. Science believes we have as many as 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day! That is right, up to 70,000 thoughts! I bet you never thought that was possible. Meditating helps us organise these thoughts.
By meditating we organise all our thoughts passing through our mind. Slowing down our breathing. Paying attention only to passing thoughts, our breath and our posture. So when meditation is completed, we are more clear and focused and ready for what the day brings.
8. Lowers high blood pressure
Recent studies have offered promising results about the impact of meditation in reducing blood pressure. A 2012 study showed African-Americans with heart disease who practiced Transcendental Meditation regularly were 48 percent less likely to have a heart attack or stroke or die compared with African-Americans who attended a health education class over more than five years.
Meditating uses a lot of deep synchronistic breathing which naturally regulates your blood flow. As you slow your breath in regulated patterns, your blood pressure also naturally decreases. Not only does meditating lower your blood pressure it can also de-stress a busy work life.
9. Less bothered by ridicule and judgements
How many of us have wished to be more self confident and not care what others think of us? By meditating you become aware of your negative self chatter. ( Probably one of the main cause of your low self esteem.) As you begin to relax it’ll help remove feelings of judgement and the loathing self critic inside your head.
It’s well worth becoming aware of how you think, and how those thoughts cause you to take certain actions… which have predictable results. And then, using the mental mastery you develop in meditation, you can change the way you talk to and about yourself – and then your actions and results will change as well.
As you become more balanced and self confident you will find things that others think of you won’t matter. It is unlikely to be an instant solution to depression, low self-esteem or anxiety. But, with consistent meditation you can change your perspective in the long term.
How to get started if you want to start meditating?
So now you know the benefits of meditating, I bet you want to give it a shot right ? When the founder of Seek A Therapy first started meditating he used a guided meditation cd. At times, he was suffering from a lot of stress during his Architectural degree and meditating created unbelievable results! He was totally removed from all of his worries and stresses by just meditating for twenty minutes.
Take a look on amazon for guided meditation cd and give it a shot today, or if you want to, maybe just check out YouTube for some free versions. Have you tried meditating? How did it feel?
I hope this blog inspires you to start meditating soon.
Please comment your experiences in the box below.